David Trimble by Steve Punter (CC-BY-SA-2.0)

By Steve Punter (CC-BY-SA-2.0)

WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW – Text provided as well

Former Northern Ireland First Minister, David Trimble, is worried that trying to keep the region inside the EU could spark trouble.

In a sobering development, the former Northern Ireland First Minister, David Trimble, has warned that any sort of special deal that keeps Northern Ireland within the EU would destroy a key principle of the Good Friday Agreement and could risk provoking unionist paramilitaries into reactivating.

The Guardian reports Mr Trimble as saying:

"What is happening now is that people are talking up the issue of Brexit and the border for the benefit of a different agenda from the agreement. The one thing that would provoke loyalist paramilitaries is the present Irish government saying silly things about the border and the constitutional issue.

"If it looks as though the constitutional arrangements of the agreement, based on the principle of consent, are going to be superseded by so-called ‘special EU status’ then that is going to weaken the union and undermine the very agreement that Dublin says it wants to uphold."

And on the differing approaches to Brexit by the Conservative government and Labour opposition, David Trimble said he did not expect Theresa May to agree to any agreement that separated Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK, but on Labour he said:

"His right-hand man [John McDonnell] who in government might get a rush of blood to the head and go to his old mates like Gerry Adams and give him what they want. If he and Corbyn were the two leading figures in a Labour government and created ‘special status’ after Brexit that would be very dangerous."

And the answer to this in not to cancel Brexit because that would anger 17.4 million people, it is for all parties to work at getting a technology driven solution in place to keep the border open. In fact an innovation like that, if replicated across the globe, could take international trade up a gear – but it would bring the usefulness of bodies like the EU into question and that's why they don't like it!

Now, in some good news that you may not have stumbled upon prominently plastered across the mainstream media, India's largest bank, the State bank of India, has expanded its London operations by launching a UK subsidiary with a £225 million commitment.

Charles Bowman, the Lord Mayor of London and leader of the City of London Corporation, welcomed the news and said:

The State Bank of India is a treasured partner of the City, having first opened an office in the Square Mile back in 1921. I’m therefore delighted the organisation is expanding its operations in London. I look forward to further building on our 100-year relationship with India’s largest bank.”

And Sanjiv Chadha, regional head of the State Bank of India UK, said:

"Many banks primarily see the UK as the gateway to Europe and are fased by the impact of Brexit. Our calculus is different. We see London as the ideal launch pad for a global presence and have full faith that, despite Brexit, London will remain the premier international financial centre."

Now, if you ask the average hardened Remainer what the pound, inflation, the cost of food and productivity was doing they would reply with glee that because of the Brexit vote – our currency was dropping like a stone, inflation was through the roof, food prices are about to cause mass starvation across the UK and productivity must be dropping.

However.

After the referendum there was a sharp fall in sterling with Remainers all drooling and saying it would basically hit zero sometime soon.

Well, after the initial difficulties it has now stabilised, with some modest recovery.

But further, traders appear to be the most bullish on sterling since July 2014 reports Pound Sterling Live.

It says that the latest Reuters poll of forecasts for sterling made by over 50 institutional analysts shows that expectations for the pound are at their highest since the referendum in June 2016.

And the overall message appears to be that the pound will strengthen against the dollar and maintain the current level against the euro.

Now onto inflation and food prices. That fall in sterling straight after the referendum, which I must add was purely down to speculator activity both prior to and immediately after the referendum, did feed through to inflation.

But now the pound has found its level that inflationary pressure has fallen away and inflation has not gone through the roof as Remainers said it would.

In fact the latest report from the British Retail Consortium or BRC, shows that food inflation is at a twelve month low (1).

More than that, shop price deflation, as opposed to inflation, deepened to one percent in March after February's 0.8 percent. That means overall, prices in shops fell.

"Shop Prices have been deflationary for 59 months now and this is the deepest deflation since February 2017. said the BRC.

"Deflation in Non-Food prices eased in March, with prices decreasing at a rate of 1.9% compared to February when prices declined by 2.2%."

"Food inflation slowed down substantially in March, inflation standing at 0.4%, down from 1.6% in February. This is the lowest food inflation rate since February 2017."

The Chief Executive of the BRC, Helen Dickinson OBE, said:

"Shop price deflation accelerated in March, driven by a substantial slowdown in food inflation, which reached its lowest rate for a year. As the impact of the pound’s depreciation one year on are beginning to fizzle out, retailers are passing the positive impact through to the shop floor."

On productivity the Office for National Statistics says that UK productivity grew in the final quarter of 2017 by 0.7 percent. This is the second quarter in a row where productivity has risen. Admittedly it fell in the first half of the year but it has recovered.

And finally for fellow Senior Service appreciators, the Royal Navy has opened a new permanent base in the Gulf, the UK's first new overseas naval base for fifty years.

"And, at a time when Iran is continuing to pose a serious threat to the security of the oil-rich Gulf region, the Navy’s new HMS Juffair base at the Bahraini port of Mina Salman will enable Britain to play its part in keeping the region’s vital sea-lanes open." Says the Telegraph.

(1) https://brc.org.uk/news/2018/food-inflation-falls-to-a-12-month-low

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